Arvella (Mrs Robert) Schuller reposes

Arvella Schuller and her husband, the Rev. Robert Schuller, in 1997.

Arvella Schuller, a founder with her husband, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, of the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Southern California, died on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in Orange, Calif. She was 84. Her death was announced by their daughter Carol Schuller Milner.

She was born Arvella DeHaan on July 29, 1929, in Orange City, Iowa. She was an organ student at Hope College, part of the {Dutch] Reformed Church of America,  in Michigan when she met her future husband, who was studying there. He received his Masters of Divinity from Western Theological Seminary, also in Holland Michigan, in 1950 and was also from a farming community in Iowa.  The Schullers were married shortly thereafter. 

His first post was in Illinois, but their big break came when they moved to Southern California in 1955 to start a drive-in Christian church in Garden Grove,  where she was the organist. It grew into a megachurch, housed in a glass-paned building, called the Crystal Cathedral, with a global television reach. television ministry, which made its debut in 1970. At its peak, the “Hour of Power” broadcast attracted 20 million viewers worldwide.The Schuller ministry filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and the Schullers resigned from the church’s board two years later amid a legal dispute over the rights to Mr. Schuller’s books and teachings.

“We cannot continue to serve on the board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere, especially since it now seems that it will not be ending anytime soon,” Mrs. Schuller said in a statement at the time.

The former Crystal Cathedral is now owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The congregation moved to a nearby church and renamed itself Shepherd’s Grove. It is led by one of the Schullers’ grandsons, Bobby Schuller.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Schuller fell ill a little more than a week ago and were hospitalized. Mr. Schuller was released to a rehabilitation facility.

In addition to her husband and her daughter Carol, Mrs. Schuller is survived by four other children, Robert Jr., Sheila, Jeanne, and Gretchen, 19 grandchildren, two sisters and a brother.

Requiescat in pacem, for a life well lived.

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